We're on a roller-coaster ride this week as Derek and Richard go from BFFs to mortal enemies! Things have been tense between the two ever since the merger, now Richard is so obsessed with cost-cutting that when Derek wants to do a high-risk surgery on Isaac, a fellow doctor with an inoperable tumor, Richard emphatically says no. We know there'll be big trouble when Derek decides to go ahead with it anyway, behind the Chief's back. He's helped by the new computer-generated surgery assignment system. Without the board, Richard has to take it on faith that surgeries are being done as assigned.
Derek spends 10 hours in the OR and doesn't make a single cut! He just can't decide where to begin. Richard discovers the deception and orders him to close. Derek does and tells Isaac that the tumor really is inoperable. Isaac tells him to sleep on it, confidently telling him. "You'll try again tomorrow." Sure enough, that night Derek has a brainstorm and figures out how and where to begin cutting.
Getting back into the OR without Richard knowing requires everyone to lie for Derek, but they can't keep the secret for long. Richard is about to storm in and demand Derek stop, but we can't believe it when Arizona, of all people (we know she has problems standing up to authority figures!) tells him, "You do not get to go in there and be a bully. not on my watch." We're so proud of her!
And we're so proud of Derek, who manages not only to remove the tumor, but to avoid paralyzing Isaac in the process, which had seemed unavoidable. The next day, Derek tells the Chief he hopes they can put this episode behind them. We're not at all prepared for what Richard says next: "you're fired. immediately. get the hell out of my hospital." Instead of taking him at his word, however, the newly zen Derek simply repeats Isaac's advice and tells the chief. "Go home. Sleep on it. We'll talk more tomorrow."
Meanwhile, we wait for Jackson's downfall when he mocks Lexie for wearing a diaper during the hours-long surgery: His solution is to skip all fluids, but of course that makes him unable to operate and Lexie steps in instead.
And we're surprised to see Reed show some compassion to Alex by taking all his work so he can wait for Izzie, who is scheduled for chemo. Our hearts go out to Alex when he waits all day and Izzie doesn't show. And we know even if we hated him as much as Reed says she does, we wouldn't be able to hold out either when he breaks down in tears.